Overdrive Extra

Credit card bill moves to Senate

Legislation that would remedy much of the credit card industry’s consumer abuses is closer to reality. It was approved by the House last week and now is before the Senate. As mentioned earlier in this space, it would eliminate abrupt, huge increases in interest rates and prevent other tactics that consumer advocates have called for. It’s about time. For too long, credit card agreements, filled with wide rivers of microscopic, self-serving type have allowed card issuers ...

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Trucking meets swine flu in a variety of ways

Reports on trucking and swine flu have proliferated this week. Many media outlets picked up the Knoxville, Tenn., newspaper interview with Professional Drivers Medical Depots (cited here earlier), but other angles have followed. First, two on the lighter side: Everitt Mickey, one of the writers who contributes to International Trucks’ Life on the Road blog, cautions readers to take the alarmist news accounts with a grain of salt: “The business of the news media, as they practice ...

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Dollars & Sense – April 2009

Towards a strong bottom line Last month I wrote about the importance of setting concise written goals. If you want to set a goal of ma...

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Truckers and swine flu

News coverage of the spreading swine flu has pointed out the role of air travelers in spreading contagious disease. If you’re thinking that truckers, likewise being a highly mobile group, could help the swine flu bugs get around, you’re thinking like Dr. John McElligot, CEO of Professional Drivers Medical Depots.      He has put his truck stop-based clinics on "high alert" regarding the spread of swine flu. Two of the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company’s five clinics are ...

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Topics for coming webinars

Well over 100 owner-operators turned out Wednesday evening for Overdrive’s first webinar. Kevin Rutherford, our Dollars & Sense columnist and the host of ATBS Trucking Business & Beyond on Sirius XM, had a lot to say about “Surviving a difficult economy.” The overall reviews were overwhelmingly positive, and that’s saying a lot, coming from a group that doesn’t mind sounding off about anything that rubs them the wrong way.   Listeners viewing the free web presentation also ...

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Landstar rides out the storm

When the economy’s in a tailspin, some observers like to speculate that the owner-operator is about to become an endangered species. Indeed, many contractors have fallen out in recent months, but there’s no doubt about the potential for good operators to make money. The biggest owner-operator fleet, Landstar Systems, recently announced it earned $14 million in the first quarter. Granted, that’s 41 percent less than a year ago, due to decreased revenue in a serious ...

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Diesel: Cheaper than gasoline?

If you’re still smarting over last year’s outrageous diesel prices, you can take a little comfort in a prediction from the U.S. Department of Energy. The feds forecast diesel will average $2.19 over 2009, and $2.51 in 2010. “The expected continuing decline in diesel fuel consumption in the United States this year as well as the growing weakness in distillate fuel usage outside the United States are projected to result in a narrowing of refining ...

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Protecting your plastic

I doubt there are many Americans who haven’t been stung by greedy credit card companies’ sneaky tricks of raising interest rates for lame reasons to levels well over 20 percent in some cases. Owner-operators have more than their share of whelps. You often having to rely on credit while far from home. When the economy’s tough, it’s easy to fall behind on bills, a sure trigger for higher interest rates. A tremendous consumer backlash over the issue ...

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Truck maker chiefs buck income trend

Daniel Ustian and Mark Piggott were among a handful of trucking-related CEOs included in the annual Wall Street Journal CEO compensation survey released today.   A photo of Ustian, head of Navistar International, made a front-page graphic due to his compensation rising almost five-fold, to $6.5 million, in 2008 – a year when average top CEO compensation fell. One of the stories, quoting a Navistar spokesman, attributed the large hike to Ustian’s “relatively low 2007 compensation ...

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Smile for the traffic camera

Traffic cameras are being used for more than red light monitoring these days. The Wall Street Journal gives an excellent update on how cities are increasingly using them to catch speeders and others by way of reading license plates.   The core app of red-light spying is still popular. And profitable. Tiny Schaumburg, Ill., put a camera at a mall and issued $1 million in citations for red-light runners over three months, The Journal reports.   There’s ...

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